Company Policy

Company Policy By DJ Cline

August 13, 2012 Hooverville, Cascadia

Billy was not a kid anymore.

Billy Thoreau, the CEO of Netrosonics was looking out the window of his corner office on the top floor of corporate headquarters. He had been listening to a teleconference of a meeting in their Ohio office when the line went dead.

His phone chirped with a news story. A cable news channel reported an explosion in Calvary Ohio. A helicopter provided pictures of a huge fireball over a suburban office park. Apparently a grass fire ignited a gas leak from a nearby fracking operation that spread along a poorly maintained gas pipeline. Due to budget cuts, local fire departments were having trouble containing the blaze.

Billy’s phone made a noise like an old cash register. Ka-ching. It meant the head of Netrosonics Calvary office was still alive and ready to report on dead or injured employees. The Black Flag insurance company would reimburse Netrosonics for the loss of property, but the local manager was going to report on the lesser-known but more lucrative dead peasant insurance. Critics said dead peasant insurance was murder. To Billy it was just company policy.

Black Flag Insurance had moved these policies offshore. They set up a shell corporation on an island off the coast of China to collect on the deaths of workers anywhere. Now all of it could be managed with a few taps on a phone. The money piled up in secret accounts in tax shelters all around the world.

By the size of the disaster in Ohio, he expected lots of dead employees, but something was wrong. His phone was not making any more noise. What he heard was the call of a raven. He turned toward the balcony.

The raven was back.

It was the reason why he did not go out on the balcony anymore. The bird sat on the railing watching him as he moved. He sent a message to building security that said “Angry Birds.” They would come up in a minute to shoo it off. They had tried everything from poison to bullets but they just kept coming. Years ago Netrosonics had bought this land at an incredibly low price. They soon found out why.

A Native American group called the Ravens said the company was on tribal land. His lawyers said the tribe had never been recognized because they never signed a treaty. It was the Raven way. They never surrendered. They were still fighting in a way that was hard to describe. Billy couldn’t actually go to court and say his company was cursed. When the dead peasant insurance money started coming in he thought it was a good thing, but spooky things were happening more often. It was wearying with the Ravens constantly counting coup.

Thoreau was beginning to think there was something to the curse.

He kept checking his phone. What was going on in Ohio?

Back? The Cornfield

Next: Flames Of Fortune

Copyright 2012 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

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